Going off-road can be fun, if you’re properly prepared.
It doesn’t matter if you’re hitting the tracks for a weekend, or getting off-road for a couple of weeks, our guide to the essentials will make your next adventure run smoothly.
Owning a 4WD means you can take an adventure whenever there’s a free weekend. But it’s more than just filling up the tank and driving off the beaten track, you need to pack for all types of situations you might encounter and build yourself a recovery kit that will pay for itself when you're free and clear on your holiday - rather than bogged down and calling for help!
Once you leave sealed roads, you’ll inevitably run into mud, sand or a combination of both that won’t want to give your car any traction if you get stuck into it.
Recovery tracks can help you get out of a bind by giving you a surface for your tyres to grip, doubling as a shovel to dig out around the wheels. It also means that if you’re travelling with only one car, you can get yourself out of bog without needing another car to get the tow straps out.
Snatch straps are invaluable when it comes to getting a little more serious to 4WD recovery. To keep everyone and their 4WD’s safe, you’ll need to invest in some rated snatch straps, as well as some D-shackles to attach the snatch straps to your 4WD. It important to understand where the recovery point (as opposed to the tie down point) is on your 4WD so that you can ensure you attach this correctly to prevent damage.
If you’re going off-road, letting some air out of your tyres is a good thing. On the road, you want firm, full tyres to give you better control of the car at high speeds. Because you’re travelling on surfaces that may need a wider tracked tyre to gain traction, you’ll have to deflate your tyres – and a tyre pressure gauge will ensure you don’t run too flat.
Of course, when it comes time to head back home – an air compressor will make it a lot safer than travelling on tyres that are running a little flat at highway speeds, because you could risk a tyre blowout because your wheels can’t cool down fast enough.
Packing your own air compressor will certainly help save time in either finding a petrol station or waiting in line to re-inflate your tyres.
Most of us are with a mobile provider that covers a large chunk of the country. But even if you can only get one bar of 4G reception at your house – that’s a lot more than you’ll be able to get in the middle of the bush or facing the surf on a remote beach.
If you need to contact someone in your convoy, or just get updates on conditions up ahead, a UHF radio is a great way to stay in touch without the worry of mobile reception.
If you get into an emergency, and you’re not able to get any type of call out on your mobile (either from your provider on 000, or from any satellite providers by calling 112), you can contact someone within range who may be able to provide assistance or call emergency services on your behalf. There is also a dedicated emergency channel (5 or repeater channel 35), which is monitored by volunteers who can contact emergency services, although these channels are not always staffed like 000 is.
A first aid kit is a bit like insurance; you won’t need it, until you're kicking yourself when you don't have it onboard.
Of course, it’s no use packing a kit that has unnecessary equipment in it, but there is general first aid gear that will be helpful everywhere. Painkillers, as well as supplies to treat cuts and small wounds are a must have, alongside any medicine or supplements to treat stomach bugs, sickness or nausea that can ruin your holiday (and the holiday of anyone around.)
Oh, and make sure to pack insect repellent and sunscreen, so you’re not spending all night scratching and/or peeling.
Finally, remember to pack all the various charger cables for phones and smart devices, as well as a big lunch for a daytrip.
Having sufficient water, a torch and a shovel are also some smart inclusions in case you get stuck, or your trip takes longer than expected.
If you're heading out on the trails, make sure to stop at the Motorama 4X4XMORE Online Storeto pick up your 4WD essentials, while the expert team at Motorama can help you find the perfect vehicle for your next off-road adventure, and give helpful tips and tricks on how to make the most of your four-wheel drive.